On 31 May 2007, the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released the Condition of Education 2007 report. This congressionally mandated annual report presents the developments and trends in 48 indicators that span all aspects of education from early childhood through postsecondary and adult education. The indicators provide information about education in five broad categories: participation in education (including enrollment figures in public vs. private schools), learner outcomes (including national and international achievement scores), student effort and educational progress (including student preparedness for school and dropout rates), contexts of elementary and secondary education (including participation in after school activities and rate of crimes at schools), and contexts of postsecondary education (including course taking, fields of study, and the price of attending college). Additionally, the 2007 report features a special analysis on high school course taking.

Some highlights of interest in this year’s report:

  • High school graduates in 2004, compared to 1982, earned an average of 3.6 vs. 2.7 credits in mathematics and 3.2 vs. 2.2 credits in science.

  • In 2004, more high school graduates had completed advanced courses in mathematics and science than in 1982 – particularly in calculus, chemistry I, and physics I.

  • Since 1998, female high school graduates have been more likely than male graduates to complete some advanced science coursework, though no measurable differences by sex were detected in the proportions of graduates who took the highest levels of science or mathematics coursework.

  • The number of children ages 5-17 who spoke a language other than English at home more than doubled between 1979 and 2005.

  • Over the past three and a half decades, total undergraduate enrollment in degree-granting postsecondary institutions has generally increased and is projected to continue to do so through 2016, with women projected to make up 60 percent of the enrollment in 2016.

  • 23 percent of 12th-graders performed at or above Proficient (indicating solid academic performance) on the 2005 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) mathematics assessment whereas 39 percent performed below Basic (indicating performance below partial mastery of fundamental skills).

  • On the 2005 NAEP science assessment, 18 percent of 12th-graders performed at or above Proficient whereas 46 percent performed at or below Basic; these 2005 achievement levels were significantly below achievement levels in 1996.

  • Results from the 2003 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), which assessed student performances in 25 countries at grade 4 and 46 countries at grade 8, showed that U.S. 4th- and 8th-graders performed above the international average in knowing mathematical facts, procedures, and concepts; in applying mathematical knowledge and understanding; and in mathematical reasoning.

The full text of the report is available online at http://www.nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/.


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